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Controlling Your E-Mail Inbox – So It Doesn’t Control You!

by on October 17, 2011

A Recap from the October 13, 2011 Leads Group Meeting

Capture new email addresses whenever you receive an email from someone you want to maintain contact with.  With a quick right click on the email address, you can add them to your contact list and never have to waste time looking for them.  Take an extra minute and capture all of their information.  It will save you time in the future.

Schedule time for email review.  Put it in your calendar.  Control your email, don’t let it control you.

Turn off the email alarm so it doesn’t distract you and make you want to look.

When you read an email, do one of four things with it:

  • Delete it
  • Respond to it
  • Send it to someone else for their attention
  • File it

If you choose to delete it, and you recognize that you get several emails from the same sender and you typically delete them, you might want to unsubscribe from that particular sender.

When you are about to respond, look a little further and see if there are a string of emails from the same sender on the same subject.  If so, you only need to read the most recent email and can probably delete the rest of the string.  Everything is usually captured in the last one in.  That also allows you to see if someone else in the string answered a question that might have been posed.  In that case, you don’t have to spend any more time on it.

Don’t hit Reply All unless you really need to fill everyone in.  This is wasted effort for everyone.

If you are emailing back and forth, you don’t have to include your entire signature line and logo.  This makes the emails easier to read and uses lots less paper if you have to print them out.

If the email subject is not something you can respond to, you may want to forward it to someone else who can respond to it.  If you do send it to someone else to handle, cc the sender so they are aware of your action and are not waiting on your response.

To set up Files for your emails, consider setting Rules in your email program.  You can set your Rules according to your priorities.  They can be defined by sender or topic or specific words which you select.  You can categorize them by business or personal matters.  It’s up to you.

Some examples:  Set a Rule for the newsletters and blogs to read when you have time.  The Rule has these items go directly there.  Set a Rule for sales flyers.  When you plan a shopping trip, check the Sales Flyer folder to see if there is a sale that would meet your purchasing needs.

Create an email folder for each client and move emails to that folder.  It’s a very efficient way to find related emails instantly.

To keep your most active clients at the top of the email folder list, use the @ symbol in front of their name.  Without the @ symbol, they appear alphabetically.  You can remove the @ symbol when a client becomes less active.

Make your email client folders mirror your computer file folders and have them match the physical files too.  You never have to think about where to find information related to a client.

Set the auto archive feature in your email system.  You can set it up for the entire system, or folder by folder.  This allows you to move emails to the trash on a regular basis.  For instance, set the auto archive for the sales flyer folder to automatically move them to the trash when they are four weeks old.

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